Until Dawn EP2: Haunted Exposition!

By Shamus
on Nov 3, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

Since I don’t know anything more than you do about where this story is going, I can’t offer much additional commentary. BUT! I can embrace some of the digressions that wouldn’t fit in the show. So let’s do that…

CinemaSins

Near the start of the episode, Rutskarn says, “Roll credits, DING!” If you’re unfamiliar with it, this is a reference to the YouTube channel CinemaSins. Host Jeremy narrates over clips of a movie, pointing out flaws and awarding “sins” for every mistake. There’s a little game show DING when a sin is flagged and there’s a running counter in the corner of the screen. Whenever a character does a title drop, Jeremy will say “Roll credits!” and flag a sin.

The only time I hear people reference CinemaSins is when they’re complaining about how terrible it is: Many of the sins are trivial. Or they’re misrepresented. Or they’re just common movie tropes.

A hypothetical example: If someone in the movie hangs up the telephone without properly ending the call with the person on the other side, Jeremy might give a sin, even though ending calls without saying goodbye is common practice in film.

All of the complaints about CinemaSins are valid, but I kind of like the show anyway. I watch it for those moments where Jeremy notices something I didn’t. Maybe he sees a plot hole or continuity error. Or maybe he just points out some interesting bit of scenery. Or maybe a funny expression on the face of one of the background characters. Or a jab at an actor. Whatever. I enjoy it whenever he sees something I didn’t. Sure, a lot of the “nitpicks” aren’t really flaws or problems. I think this arises from the fact that not all movies are equally sinful. If a movie has 2 interesting mistakes and everything else is fine, then what do you do? Not make the video? Make a 10-second video with only 2 sins? You could argue “yes”, but the culture and economics of YouTube creates a strong incentive to make lots of 5-minute videos.

So I think the trivial nitpicks are an artifact of the format. If you’re Jeremy then you want to cover popular and recognizable movies that people care about, you want the show to last at least a couple of minutes, and you want a roughly even distribution of sins so you don’t jump from the first act to the third without saying anything about the parts in between. This naturally results in a bunch of throwaway sins.

I like CinemaSins, but I also like CinemaSins is Wrong About Everything for all the same reasons. It’s a fun review of details I’d missed.

And to round out this cavalcade of negativity, I’ll also point out that I like CinemaWins, the flipside version of CinemaSins that celebrates great movies. The tagline for CinemaWins is “Because liking things is more fun than disliking things”. While I like the positivity of CinemaWins, I think this misses the point. It’s not about whether something is bad or good, but about looking for things to think about and discuss.

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From the Archives:

  1. Rory Portoeus says:

    Shamus have you seen the SheSellsSheShells videos on Cinema sins?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnTZbZw1JPQ

  2. Angelo says:

    Speaking of videos criticizing Cinema Sins, have you ever watched “Everything Wrong With Everything Wrong With”?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnTZbZw1JPQ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5YWVne9pDE

    Personally I’m not a fan of Cinema Sins. I like the idea, but it just sounds like it’s trying to sound funny all the time, and it never does.

    • Phantos says:

      CinemaSins reminds me of the old David Letterman skits about a guy who detected “mistakes” in movies. Things like:

      “Did you catch the mistake in Harry Potter? People can’t fly.”

      • Christopher says:

        I don’t think I agree that the point of CinemaSins, or nitpicking in general isn’t about the quality. If the point was to just look for things to think about and discuss, then you wouldn’t call it sins. You wouldn’t call it nitpicking. It wouldn’t just be pointing out incongruous(but ultimately irrelevant and unimportant) parts and making fun of them, it would point to the good points and moments and scenes also. Instead, it’s an exercise I do because it’s fun and easy to complain about some inconsistency that might mildly annoy me but doesn’t harm anyone or get people riled up in the same way complaining about serious subjects do(Or, if I was an online entertainer, it’s an easier way to make jokes than pointing out something positive). Even if being on the receiving end of a nitpicking friend when you’re trying to watch something you’re really into can be infuriating.

        • Adrian says:

          It’s a matter of how he presents his material. Jeremey has never made a film in his life but he’s ready to point out how everyone who does make them is awful and can’t do anything right. Just the title “Everything Wrong with X” implies a haughty, know-it-all attitude, like the Comic Book Shop Guy from The Simpsons is about to give me a lecture on why every opinion I have is wrong. I guess it wasn’t so bad when he was cutting his teeth on films that are considered by critics and audiences to be bad, but now that he’s moved on to classic or well regarded films it’s become incongruous. I found the exact moment I gave up on CineSins was his Fellowship of the Ring “analysis” where he shows the scene where Bilbo is telling the hobbit kids about his encounter with the trolls, Jeremy then makes some snarky joke about the Hobbit film trilogy which would come out 11 years later, and then marked that scene as a sin. Seriously, now movies should be held accountable to hypothetical shitty cash grabs made a decade later? Fuck you Jeremy.

        • Phantos says:

          It would be less annoying if he wasn’t objectively wrong about a lot of the things he says are mistakes.

          It’s like someone made a youtube channel of putting his hand to his forehead in the shape of an “L”, but he uses the wrong hand.

    • Matt Downie says:

      I dislike the ‘everything wrong with’ approach. Trying to list ‘everything’ just makes it seem like you’re too lazy to edit your work down to just the good bits.

  3. MichaelGC says:

    Let me in!

    Stop excluding me!

  4. Deadpool says:

    I replayed this game relatively recently to try and get the “save everyone” ending. To do so you have to scour every inch of the game to get all the secrets.

    While relatively easy I came to learn the game takes about 10 hours to complete this way. I thought it was neat since it starts roughly 10 hours until dawn…

    • SpiritBearr says:

      I just bought the game because it was on sale I could have got the everyone lives ending right away but screwed up on the guy people screw up on so I killed all but one. It was pretty easy to find all the collectables and even I missed one but got it.

  5. Gruhunchously says:

    I’m not sure if it’s ever explicitly stated, but I get the impression that the party at the lodge was a yearly thing that had been going on long before the night Beth and Hannah’s disappearance. Coming back for the next year was maintaining a tradition in spite of the tragedy, meant to be comforting, familiar, a coping mechanism. In theory.

  6. Ledel says:

    I can’t say for certain, but I’ve been told that the character traits will change based on the decisions you make through the game. The changes in the traits/relationships are supposed cause certain scenes to play out differently based on those decisions. I’m not sure how true that is, but I’ve only seen 2 LPs of the game and while they both shared the overall story, there were different scenes for both of those LPs.

  7. MrGuy says:

    I love that, just as Ruts pointed out how Intelligence wasn’t high on Jess’ list of stats, she appears to walk into a pole.

  8. MrGuy says:

    So, wait. Josh was offered the opportunity to troll Mumbles by shooting the raccoon and…didn’t? I don’t know what’s real anymore!

    • Ledel says:

      I’m fairly certain shooting the squirrel would cause Mumbles to leave the show, for the rest of the week at least. Josh teasing about possibly shooting the squirrel was enough of a chuckle for me.

  9. Christopher says:

    The actor portraying Chris, Noah Fleiss, was 28 years old at the time of the game’s announcement in 2012. Emily’s and Sam’s actors were 23. Josh’s was 31. Mike’s was 30. Ashley’s was 22. Jessica’s was 20. Matt’s was 18, making him the only actual teenager.

    So that’s why most of the men look like regular ol’ adults while the girls and Matt look believable. Josh’s actor pulls it off best. Chris would look older even without his face because he’s so tall. And Mike has a very grown up-looking face. Josh has neither.

    • Ivellius says:

      I will also point out, without leaving the obligatory TVTropes link (you’re welcome), that this is fairly typical of the genre.

      • Nessus says:

        CG has an out though, in that as long as you’re making fully digital character models anyway, it’s easy enough to tweak the model to look younger. There’s literally no reason why they have to look exactly the age the actor was at the time of recording. Even if they’re based on scans of the actors, the devs are still going to be retopo-ing, repairing, tweaking, converting, texture editing and rebuilding, etc. in order to make those scans into game-ready models. It would cost nothing extra to adjust things along the way to match photos of the actors when they were teens.

        • Stu Hacking says:

          The point is that the game is mimicking a genre of cinema and riffing on the common tropes. As such it was a deliberate decision to stick with the trope of having older actors portraying teenagers. Because the viewer recognises the gimmick, they’re more willing to accept the game as a continuation of this theme.

          Anything the game does that doesn’t fit the pattern set by movies might be one more thing that makes the game feel odd when compared side by side with the genre. Thus, it might be the thing that distracts the player becoming invested in the plot.

          A second point is that having the characters follow this trope and look older makes the setting a bit more hammy, and a bit less creepy. We think of them more as ‘movie characters in a campy survival horror setting’, and less as ‘teenagers in real mortal danger’.

    • Gruhunchously says:

      Also, like they said in the video, Remi Malek does a really good job at being awkward, with some garbled words, unconfident cadence, and accents on the wrong syllable. He really sells his character as a socially anxious teenager. And he changes his attitude depending who he’s talking to. When he’s with Chris, he sounds much more confident, and when he’s with Sam (who he may or may not have a crush on), his awkward tics are much more pronounced.

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Shamus,are you saying that in dead or alive everyone was kung fu fighting?

  11. James says:

    “but the culture and economics of YouTube creates a strong incentive to make lots of 5-minute videos.”

    This isnt strictly true anymore, with the changes that came with the unveiling of YouTubeRed longer videos carry much much more weight in the how much ad revenue you get, or its place in the meta ranking, so much so that Animations, short well crafted videos are almost impossible to do on youtube and expect to be paid well anymore.

  12. Warclam says:

    Ugh, I’m not sure I can watch this season. I don’t like horror and I don’t really like the interactive movie style. I thought I’d try it anyway, because you guys are awesome?

    But then there are all these stats and collectibles which maybe do something, sorta, maybe, but basically the game is about making arbitrary choices and hoping you get what you want. And you keep talking about how good the animations look, while all I see is a bunch of 3d cartoons making jerky saccades stitched together unnaturally, like a Pixar movie at 10fps.

    …Maybe I can treat it like another Diecast?

  13. Neko says:

    I like CinemaSins. With sins such as “(female lead) isn’t my girlfriend in this scene”, it’s clearly not seriously considering each point as a “deadly sin”, it’s just playful jabs to point out silly or dumb things in the movie that you might not have noticed during it.

    It’s like… I enjoyed Captain America: Civil War well enough while watching it, there’s some nice action and fun story beats… that doesn’t mean I can’t boggle at enormous plot holes OMG the villain’s entire plan relied on Tony Stark managing to follow Steve Rogers and Bucky and arrive at the top secret Siberian bunker at the same time. and chide them for bad writing in other places. A high Sin Count doesn’t mean I or the CinemaSins people hate a movie, there’s just a lot of fascinating flaws.

    • Fizban says:

      This. Basically if you’re complaining about CinemaSins sinning everything, you’re missing the point. It’s negativity for fun, roughing up targets both loved and loathed, with the difference being loved targets get occasional reprieves while the loathed targets get roasted extra hard. It’s not a great show for binging as too much negativity for fun just becomes too much negativity period, but if you’re not trying to binge it and relax you’ll have a good time. People get hung up on the sins being “flaws” but many of them aren’t even that: they’re just sins, things people do that go against their religion (say the religion of good moviemaking or storytelling) but are often perfectly harmless or even positive when used properly.

      Aside from the main entertainment value, I feel like there’s also something to be said for it as a preview of dumbness. If you watch the CinemaSins video for a movie you haven’t seen and think “hey, most of that stuff was funny,” then you’ll probably be happy watching the full movie. If you think “wow that was some terrible movie bs” then you know skipping it was a good idea. It’s basically like asking a friend to go over all the stupid crap they can remember to see if there’s anything that’ll put you off, but in greater detail and video.

  14. 18:41 “You don’t want to role-play a character as stupid, because that’s not copacetic with your goal of playing well, but…”

    Counterpoint: Low INT options for Fallout 1, 2, New Vegas, and every Fallout-related season of Spoiler Warning… and most of the others, for that matter.

  15. At the start Josh forgot (or didn’t know) to show the back of the note.
    I think the developer should have had a info prompt stating that “You can also examine the back of an object.”

  16. Regarding the stat thing. I’m not sure either if they are “real”. But they do allude to certain choices you’ve made.

    And while I never confirmed this if a like or dislike between two characters are big enough then that will indicate if you get a positive or negative outcome in later scenes/paths.

    I’m just not sure if they track it exactly like that, it might just be a presentational abstraction of the various flags/values they track.

  17. @Shamus regarding a canonical path.
    There is none, although without spoiling anything I can say that Sam as far as horror movies with a young persons/teenagers in it Sam would be the obvious lone or not lone survivor.
    The story is also a tragic one.

    But the devs did make fully valid multiple “endings” and variations.

    Now I use “endings” in quotes as the story ends with the first light of dawn hitting the cabin they are at.

    Then the devs do something awesome, they have a sort of during credits post-ending.
    Jackie Chan usually puts bloopers or cool things during the credits. Many other movies do too.
    But Until Dawn devs put something that reflect who lived and who died and sort of summarizing some of the choices you made.
    That gave me some nice Fallout “wrap-up slideshow” vibes.

    There is also a post-post-ending scene that may or may not appear after the credits.

    I loved the way they did the credits, usually it’s really boring to stare at the text of like 10 pages slowly crawl by, but here you get a little story, you see which characters changed or did not change (also depending on your choices).

    This game is very character driven, the character (based on player choices) will change, from being a bitch to being nice, or from being nice to being a bitch.

    If this was a theatre movie they could probably have made ten versions of this and aired a different one at different cinemas, and people discussing it would have several different interpretations of each one.

    There was rumours of a movie (and I think the “Josh” actor himself (forgot his name) said that he’d love to do a movie.
    All the actors/characters look like each other, it’s their voices. And they mocaped it all. So unless this takes like two decades making the actors too old then a movie can still happen.

    But even in that case of a actual movie it would just be same as one playthrough of the game.

    So I’d say, at least 1 character surviving and finding all the clues needed for the post-credit scene to trigger would be “canon”.
    How many characters is canon though? That depends on the way you play/choices made.

    Any choice can make a character more likeable (and as tropes go thus a likely survivor) or more of an asshole (and as tropes go most likely a victim)..

  18. BTW! Many “game jurnalists” out there that criticize the characters may have only played through once, and if they disliked characters it’s possible this is because that is due to the choices they made.

    Also certain characters (like the shrink) might be disliked by reviewers as well, but there could be a reason for it but I can’t say anything more without spoilers.

    Also if nobody’s played this game before but can afford it, get it and play it if possible (if you have a PS4) as a lot of the experience and enjoyment (or dismay) is gained through that first playthrough.

    It’s like a magic trick, it’s amazing the first time you see it. Second and third and so on it’s not as amazing and you can kinda guess how certain things are done, but the magic trick is still awesome.

    The game also has a statistics feature you can enable (only do this on your second or third playthrough or it will spoil your decision making on choices).

    I will mention your very first “choice” though (waking or not waking Josh doesn’t count),
    the sister hold on to her sister or let go, with stats on you’ll see peoples choices but you’ll also see that there is a hidden third choice since you can choose to not make a choice, and the stats I’ve seen show almost nobody found/knew that choice was possible, later on this “hidden” choice appears now and again.

    Oh and here’s the list of stuff that the devs worked on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supermassive_Games

    Their “biggest” game release prior was the HD remaster of Killzone (they did not make Killzone).

    These devs blindsided me and Sony annoyed (and still annoy) the fuck out of me for making this game a PS4 exclusive.
    Comon Sony, it’s over a year ago now. This should have been released for PC and XBone half a year ago.
    Heck ideally (due to the plot/story heavy nature of this game) it would have been best if it was released multi-platform on day one.

    I got high hopes for what Supermassive Games makes next, but I fear it’s going to be a PS4/PS4Pro exclusive.

  19. @Chris regarding the squirrel:

    (tiny spoiler) Hurting animals in this game has consequences.

    (small spoiler) It doe have an impact on the story.

    (medium spoiler) Sam gets a scratch/wound on her face from a bird that stays with her through the game

    (large spoiler) In the middle (!) of the game Sam gets chased, hiding in a certain place while having the wound will get her caught.

    (full spoiler) Sam will get caught regardless, but it’s interesting how such a “minor” thing from early in the game gets called back to and sabotages your hide attempt in the way it does.

    Some of the choices/consequences stuff in this games kinda make me want to play the Alpha Protocol but damn the issues trying to run that game kinda scares me.

    • Jokerman says:

      It will take a xbox 360 emulator to get a stable copy of Alpha Protocol on PC : )

      • ZekeCool says:

        God I know it was a mess but I still love Alpha Protocol. The branching storylines are just… huge. It’s also not afraid to keep information from you. There’s two to three big twists which are only able to be found if you actually did your research and took the right paths. It was an excellent narrative for a spy game. Just wish it hadn’t been such a technical failure.

        • Gruhunchously says:

          And part of the reason it was such a good spy game is that they really committed to the ‘intelligence operative’ part of it. The dossiers aren’t just flavor text, many of them have useful information that can be brought up in conversation and even combat.

          Which is actually very similar to Until Dawn. There are fewer mechanics, but clue collection isn’t just there to fill up boxes in a menu. There are some scenes in this game that have very different tones depending on how many clues the player has collected, and one character can only be “saved” if the player has found a particular clue beforehand.

        • Jokerman says:

          Oh, i’m with you… it’s one of my favorite games ever i think, played through it a ridiculous amount of times now.

      • Andy_Panthro says:

        I played through it on PC at release (I pre-ordered!), and only had two noticeable bugs. So when the consensus was that it was a buggy mess, I felt very alone for actually really liking the game!

  20. How many games out there have choices/consequences (and well made ones) endings like Until Dawn?
    Dragon Age: Origins comes to mind, as does the Fallout games (except for Fallout 4 which has no ending wrap-up).

  21. Sam says:

    Really? I though Chris was always a rather good character. That may have been something to do with playing him as the dogged hopeful for Ashley(?) and generally “nice guy”. Which is actually represented by a lot of his dialogue, usually with Josh and Jess. Either way, I feel it was rather harsh to label Chris a jerk when he was clearly putting on an act to mess with Jess and Sam, at worst passive aggressively mocking Sam, especially when they’re established to be friends and in a connected friend group. It even shows in the relationship status screen for Sam that Chris is as good a friend as Ashley, Emily, Josh, and Matt.

    I don’t know, maybe being a younger individual with his own friends very similar to this, without the murder and death bits of course, gives me an entirely different view on these kinds of interactions.

    • Christopher says:

      I think he was a bit of an ass with the phone bit, but the rest of his behavior was pretty consistent with some of my friends. Not in normal situations, but in the “stuck in a cabin with lots of friends(and possibly a person they like) and no parents” situation. There’s a certain cabin mood to it, where people are more on edge than normal and their emotions bubble to the surface.

      Having said that, Chris is also just a prankster, bro, which isn’t a type of person I normally enjoy. But that’s where the horror game comes in to help everyone out. Everyone might act like minor jerks(except Sam), but it doesn’t matter if you’re a colossal bitch or a prankster or kinda spineless when the game throws them into horrific circumstances and your playing is what determines if they die as jerks or survive as badasses.

      • Sam says:

        Yeah, I can see his personality grating on certain people. In my play through I lost one, maybe two, people and most of my characters ended up getting along. Except Jess. She was a bitch.

    • Jokerman says:

      I thought Chris was ok too, plus points for being one of the few completely not involved in the prank in the opening scene, he was passed out next to Josh.

      I feel like this game, more than any i have played, presents me with a character i imitatively don’t like, who then grows on me throughout the game to the point where i really start to like them. Mike for example, right in the middle of the prank early on, still kind of a dick at the in these early stages, becomes my favorite character by the end.

      His girlfriend Jess too, might come off as a unkind bimbo early, but i also ended up really liking her.

      Then there are some that seem great at first, but i ended up not liking… some where i liked in my first playthrough, but a different playthrough kinda hated them for what they do.

      • Sam says:

        Huh. I was the opposite mostly. I was ok with Mike at the start under the assumption that he’d later regret or get comeuppance for his actions but at the same time understood he was kind of just being a dick while surrounded by friends egging him on and was probly a bit drunk. That and, two close friends dying seems like it would be enough of a punishment that I didn’t feel the need to exact my own punishment on the characters.

        Jess I gave a few chances that were quickly used up by the time she and Mike were leaving for their sewerage cabin. I really don’t like characters, women especially, that think of themselves being better or inherently more deserving of special treatment regardless of whatever they say or do. Personal reasons.

    • Gruhunchously says:

      Chris is a pure soul and must be protected.

  22. I find myself annoyed by games where characters are “defined” so absolutely by the game, as if detecting character traits is alien to the player. If a character is STALWART, IMPULSIVE, and PUCKISH, I can tell that from the dialog and actions they take; I don’t think it necessary to have big glowing letters informing me about it. It also risks being so vague as to be akin to a horoscope, or they’ll do something later on that contradicts said trait. Further, such “stats” are, at best, guidelines. Surely if someone’s character trait is HUMOROUS, they’ll still run away from a monster rather than crack wise first.

    It just seems to treat the player like a visitor from another world who doesn’t get how humans behave.

    • Jokerman says:

      These levels will change based on how you play, like, if you act cowardly as a brave character, “brave” will go down, and maybe some others, plus maybe the relationship with a character involved will drop.

      I think, since you play as about 9 or so characters throughout this game, having this screen as a reminder is helpful. Certainly when there is a big gap of time until you go back to one you played before.

  23. Parkhorse says:

    I used to watch CinemaSins, but I have since dropped it. What bothers me is that it used to be, for example, “Everything Wrong With The Avengers In 3 Minutes Or Less.” Very few of his videos of late are under fifteen minutes long. It’s not that these movies have more actual sins (hell, The Room was “in 8 minutes or less!), it’s just that he’s unnecessarily padding everything. The videos used to be quick and amusing, and now they’re long slogs full of incredibly petty nitpicks, padded out to game YouTube’s advertising metrics.

    • IFS says:

      I’m in the same boat, I used to like it when it was shorter but as the videos have gotten longer its become less watchable. It also became much more obviously lazy (maybe it always was and I didn’t notice) just repeating the same ‘jokes’ ad nauseum, made more grating by the frequent use of sexism for ‘humor’ and deliberately and inconsistently missing the point or ignoring something for the sake of a ‘joke’. The end result (for me at least) is that the videos become grating and frustrating rather than funny.

  24. Mr. Son says:

    Josh’s scene at the beginning of this episode look terrible to me. His head just moves in this… really unnatural way that makes him look like an animatronic.

    Ugh. And you guys keep slagging on the nerd. And then on each other for nerdiness. Great. I hate when you make those kind of jokes. You’re MUCH more fun when you’re geeking out than when you’re mocking each other for geeking out.

    Well, on to episode 3…

  25. Zantaros says:

    While CinemaSins does occasionally have a few thought-provoking and interesting comments, with the amount of chaff thrown in, I think it’s a bit of a “panning for gold” experience, like what Chris described Battlefield’s multiplayer to be like in the most recent Diecast. As a result, I don’t find it worthwhile to watch anymore.

    One positive movie analysis series that (for me, at least) provokes interesting thoughts is Movies with Mikey, hosted by Mikey Neumann. If you get the chance, Shamus, you should maybe give it a look.

  26. RCN says:

    Wow. I’m glad I started this Spoiler Warning season now even though I felt I wouldn’t have the time, if just for the commentaries.

    Discovering CinemaWins was just what I needed right now.

    I love CinemaSins and the discussion it fosters, criticism is valid, even if nitpicky, criticism is ALWAYS valid.

    But, like a new generation os critics is trying to convey, criticism is not HATE. You have to also appreciate what works. Just watching the CinemaWins take on Man of Steel (a movie so universally hated by the Snyder critics and fanboys in general) was such a refreshing thing to do. I’m in the minority who really liked the movie and felt the critics were judging it for things it wasn’t set out to do. It just needed an actual color palette though.

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